"Students launch out-of this-world High Altitude Balloon"

Students prior to launch of MOC1 on May 6, 2016. From left to right: Amee Patel (Grad student in Electrical Eng), Daniel Johnson (Undergraduate student in Electrical Eng), Michael Holloway (Undergraduate student in Computer Eng), Matt Joplin (Grad student in Electrical Eng), Samaa Davies (Grad student in Electrical Eng), Nichole Shelton (Undergraduate student in Electrical Eng)

Amee Patel, Daniel Johnson, Michael Holloway, Matt Joplin, Samaa Davies, Nichole Shelton.

MOC1 flight path plotted using Google Earth

MOC1 flight path plotted using Google Earth

Amee Patel, Matt Joplin, Dr. Daniel Loveless, and Samaa Davies shortly after launch or MOC1 in Chickamauga, GA

Amee Patel, Matt Joplin, Dr. Daniel Loveless, and Samaa Davies shortly after launch or MOC1 in Chickamauga, GA

Earlier this May, Dr. Daniel Loveless led a team of 13 undergraduate and graduate students as they successfully launched and retrieved a high altitude balloon that peaked at an altitude of approximately 108,000 feet. The class, made up of Electrical and Computer Engineering majors, spent their spring semester designing, developing, testing, and reporting for a spacecraft subsystem, all in preparation for this pivotal moment.

“The primary objective was to launch a balloon payload to approximately 100,000 ft with communications and tracking systems for ground-tracking from launch to landing. To this end, the launch was a success,” Loveless said.

The balloon’s 4.5 hour journey began in Chickamauga, GA. The craft travelled 150 miles before landing in Griffin, GA

As the team worked throughout the semester, they relied heavily on research and technical literature to create their designs.

“The students learned how to navigate through highly technical concepts, critique the value of technical literature, and implement designs based on published findings,” Loveless explained.

In addition to their enhanced research skills, the students gained invaluable experience easily transferable to the workplace.

“Teamwork was a BIG deal. However, the students also learned about real, and extreme design constraints, beyond the typical ideal analysis typically covered in courses.  For example, designing a structural sound system to handle the 100mph wind speeds encountered, and reliable electronics to operate at -50C. These are skills highly valued in the workplace and I think are invaluable lessons learned (through success and failures of designs),” added Loveless.


Student involved in this project included:
Saama Davies
Benjamin Evans
Michael Holloway
Daniel Johnson
Matthew Joplin
Daniel Kelly
Grady McDonald
Geoffrey Nelson
Amee Patel
Nichole Shelton
Joshua Suggs
Skylar Tinney
Matthew Webb

Media Relations Contacts: Email UTC Media Relations or call 423-425-5119.

Sarah ’14, ’16 earned an MA in English rhetoric and composition at UTC where she now works as staff writer; she enjoys hiking with her husband and two boys and spending time with her backyard menagerie of goats, chickens and ducks.

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